Human voices, often referred to as our "auditory faces," constitute a unique blend of speaker, signal, listener, and their intricate interaction, rendering them inherently social in nature. The profound interplay between perception and production unveils a captivating tapestry of dynamic, variable signals that shape the rich spectrum of actual utterances. In this branch of my research program, I focus on voice identity, investigating the multifaceted nature of individual speaker variability and its influence on voice perception and recognition, harnessing the power of complex, dynamic speech datasets and corpora. Through this intricate interplay between perception and production, I aim to address the fundamental question: What makes your voice uniquely yours?
Exploring Voice Quality with an Interdisciplinary Lens
With Jody Kreiman, Patricia Keating, and Abeer Alwan, I pursue an interdisciplinary approach to studying voice quality, a venture supported by NSF and NIH. Our collaborative approach combines diverse expertise to unravel the complexities of talker voice variation. Centered around a sophisticated psychoacoustic model (Kreiman, Lee, Garellek, Samlan, & Gerratt, 2022), our exploration bridges individual speaker variability and broader, population voice spaces. This framework navigates the intricacies of voice qualities, spanning speaking styles (Lee & Kreiman, 2022a), emotions, dialects, and languages (Lee & Kreiman, 2022b). Leveraging innovative computational tools (Lee, Keating, & Kreiman, 2019), we dissect acoustic attributes that define voice variation. Analyzing a diverse dataset, we uncover the intricate features within and across speakers. This research enriches cross-linguistic perspectives on voice quality and informs clinical practices. Our interdisciplinary inquiry not only advances voice research but also lays a foundation for clinical applications. It amplifies our understanding of voice production and recognition, propelling transformative discoveries in vocal communication.
Unraveling Neuromuscular Controls in Voice Production, Acoustics, and Perception
Collaborating closely with Dinesh Chhetri and the otolaryngology team at the UCLA Laryngeal Lab, our research takes a comprehensive approach to understanding the intricate dynamics of voice production, acoustics, and perception. Utilizing an in vivo canine model and our novel 3D reconstruction method, which enable the manipulation of laryngeal nerve stimulations to impact vocal fold medial surface deformation (Reddy, Schlegel, Lee & Chhetri, 2022), our multifaceted investigation uncovers the mechanisms governing voice production and quality. It identifies perceptually significant vocal fold vibration asymmetry patterns that contribute to the clinical understanding of voice disorders. Through rigorous analysis of the acoustic and perceptual outcomes resulting from systematically manipulated neuromuscular variations, we've identified distinct vocal fold vibration asymmetry patterns with perceptual relevance that further our comprehension of voice disorders (Chung, Lee, Reddy, Zhang & Chhetri, 2023). Additionally, our work informs the optimal choice of thyroplasty implant treatment for glottal insufficiency (Reddy, Lee, Zhang & Chhetri, 2022). Our ongoing efforts in the field of voice research drive the advancement of clinical approaches for diagnosing and treating voice disorders, thereby paving the way for transformative progress.